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Batter up! Cake ‘war’ declared in Americus

Staff Reports

southview@albanyherald.com

AMERICUS — A red velvet “cake war,” both real and imaginary, is coming to the stage next month at the Rylander Theatre.

The Sumter Players are set to perform the play “The Red velevet Cake War” Sept. 13-16 at the theater located at 310 W. Lamar St. as the theater opens its 2012-13 season.

But on opening night, there will be some real-life competition over who in the area can bake the best red velvet cake. Theater officials say that those who want to participate in the bake-off must register by Sept. 10 and bring their cake to the theater by 6 p.m. Sept. 13, where a panel of judges will determine who wins the “war.”

At 8 p.m., the curtain will rise on the new season and a play that officials with the organization describe as a “Southern-fried comedy.”

The story is set in Sweetgum, Texas, where three Verdeen cousins — Gaynelle (played by Ashley Longacre), Peaches (portrayed by Daina Rosario) and Jimmie Wyvette (Ellen Cotter) — are throwing an ill-timed family reunion, as pointed out by their self-righteous Aunt LaMerele (Alanna Goolsby).

Complicating the affair is ... an affair. Gaynelle “accidentally” crashes her minivan through the bedroom wall of her husband’s girlfriend’s doublewide, while Peaches, a saucy firebrand and the No. 1 mortuarial cosmetologist in the tri-county area, is struggling to decide if it’s time to have her long-absent trucker husband declared dead. Jimmie, a rough-around-the-edges store manager of Whatley’s Western Wear, is resorting to extreme measures to outmaneuver a priss-pot neighbor for the affections of Sweetgum’s newest widower.

Peaches and Jimmie have decided the reunion’s success is the perfect way to prove Gaynelle’s sanity to a skeptical court-appointed psychologist (Genie Bryan), but they face even more challenges from the parade of wildly eccentric Verdeens who gather on the hottest day of July, which comes in the middle of Texas tornado season. Things, as one might expect, quickly spin out of control.

The cast includes Jonathan Minich as a one-eyed suitor, Shea Sloan as the sassy hostess of the “Hospitality House” access cable show, Richard Nettum as oxygen-dependent family patriarch Uncle Aubrey Verdeen, Madison Sloan as perky, prim and nosy Bitsy Hargis, Jeremy Ellenberg as the gun totin’ Sheriff Grover Lout and Jason Wallace as camera happy Cousin Purvis.

The show is set for performances at 8 p.m. Sept. 13-15 with a 2:30 p.m. matinee of Sept. 16. Tickets are available by calling (229) 931-0001 or toll-free 1 (877) 662-2312, or by visiting online www.rylander.org or www.sumterplayer.org.

Entries in the local cake war will be displayed and made available for tasting at a reception following the opening-night show. Complete rules and an entry form are online at sumterplayer.org/cake. Notice of entry may also be filed by e-mail to theater@sumterplayer.org or by mail to P.O. Box 154, Americus. There is no charge to enter.